BBC Pledges £100m Film Investment

DirectorThe BBC is to up its film budget from £10m to £15m a year and teaming up with the UK Film Council in an attempt to help make more British films.

The BBC film budget will be boosted to £100m over the next 10 years, depending on the  forthcoming licence-fee settlement, allowing between £6m and £11m to be spent on acquiring British films for television from 2007.

Mrs Henderson Presents

Under the new partnership, the BBC will support British films with clear strategy in place, like a commitment to launch new talent on BBC Three, as well as increasing feature film productions.

The BBC and UK Film Council are also pledged to work together on a range of projects designed to give audiences more choice, to develop and support creativity and skills across the industry and encourage the UK to get behind its film industry.

Alan Yentob, BBC's Creative DirectorAlan Yentob, creative director of the BBC, said: "BBC Films has a unique place in the UK film industry as a supporter of projects, which would otherwise not make it onto the big screen."
 
Yentob cited films such as the recent A Cock & Bull Story, Woody Allen's Match Point and the Judi Dench-starring, Oscar-nominated Mrs Henderson Presents as examples of successful BBC investments.
 
He added: "Increased investment will broaden the portfolio of films we can bring to the screen, enhancing the BBC's contribution to the UK film industry."

John WoodwardFilm Council chief executive John Woodward confirmed the news today and described it as "a real boost for the British film industry".

He added: "We have always worked well with the BBC in the past.

"But we now have a unique opportunity to put this relationship on a new footing, sharing the same mission to ensure that more British films are made and shown on the BBC channels."

As well as the massive boost for British film production and acquisition, the UK Film Council and the BBC will pool resources in partnership with Skillset and the British Film Institute, giving audiences more choice to film and cinema through the UK Film Council's Digital Screen Network, and the BBC's Creative Archive.

The news comes a week after it was revealed television channels in the UK could be forced to plough more money into British movies to ensure the future of the British film industry.

Two Labour backbenchers put forward an amendment to the new Communications Bill, which would give broadcasters a legal obligation to support the film industry.

The number of British films made in the UK fell from 51 in 2001 to 42 last year.

EDITOR's NOTE

Alan Yentob is Director of Drama, Entertainment and CBBC, a position he has held since April 2000. In June 2004 he also became the BBC's Creative Director. He is at the creative helm of the BBC and has overall responsibility for BBC drama, entertainment and all aspects of the BBC's children's output across all media. He has responsibility for a significant film division and is the focal point for talent management across the whole of the BBC.

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